One customer said he had gotten $3,000 back since the I-Team's initial investigation, but other accusers said they haven't seen a dime.
I-Team Consumer Investigative Reporter Jason Knowles spoke with the contractor in question and got a status update when he was at a recent court hearing.
South suburban contractor Mahmoud Nasir recently faced a judge in an ongoing disorderly conduct case. He's fighting the charge, but has not entered an official plea.
Knowles spoke with him about complaints from five different customers, all of whom say he either didn't finish the job or didn't start the job after they gave him cash deposits.
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"I took care of everybody," Nasir said. "I got money orders already, everybody got money and I got proof, man. Please leave me alone. Please, I am asking you nicely."
So the I-Team checked in with the consumers.
One customer, Adam Amaskane, said he has received refund checks and is not owed any more money. He produced money orders totaling $3,000, some of which came in just over the weekend.
Amaskane said his dispute was over unfinished work, including an unfinished basement in his Peotone home.
"There was supposed to be here a play area for the kids," Amaskane said.
When Knowles asked Nasir who he had paid back, the contractor answered, "You can call Adam, you can call anyone else you want to."
However the other four customers said they haven't gotten any money back. Later, on the phone, Nasir admitted that was true.
The I-Team first reported on Nasir in February.
"It was something that happened between me and my business partner," Nasir explained at that time. "I got the short end of the stick, you know what I mean? And I just want to either be able to reimburse everybody. I mean, I'm not saying I'm going to reimburse them all at once and it'll take a little bit of time, but I will reimburse them if I have to or I will finish the job if I have to."
I-Team Takeaway: What to do before hiring a contractor
Oscar Setiawan said he is hoping to get a $4,000 deposit back after he had to hire someone else to remodel his Merrionette Park rental property. He said Nasir never showed up.
On the phone, Nasir told Knowles he had recently gotten a new job and he again pledged to pay everyone back as soon as he could and that he would show proof of payments.
Before you hire a contractor get several references from family, friends and online.
Also, pay in thirds and use a credit card, not cash.